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LOCAL BRIEFS: Saluda Train Tales, Cider & Wine & Dine, Walk Hendo survey

James Metcalf James Metcalf

Early history opens Saluda Train Tales


James Metcalf, a direct descendant of one of the town’s earliest pioneer families, kicks off the first Saluda Train Tales of the year at 7 p.m. Friday, April 21, at the Saluda Historic Depot and Museum.
Metcalf will tell the story of Saluda’s roots, focusing on history long before 1881, when Saluda became chartered and even before 1878, when the first railroad locomotive crested the steep hill known as the Saluda Grade.
In those very early years, the region was known as Pace’s Gap, named for the Pace family, who were among the early settlers. In addition to the Paces, families with surnames such as Metcalf, Guice, Staton, Thompson and Morris molded the mountains into a community of trading posts, churches, farms and mills. Metcalf will share their stories, including local tales of battles during the American Revolution and Civil War, along with other challenges and triumphs of the early settlers that led to the founding of Saluda.
Metcalf, a member of the Fork Creek community of Saluda, has been a board member of the Polk County Historical Association for many years and is chief docent at the Polk County Historical Museum in Columbus. Metcalf has also been a local radio announcer for 20 years, currently at WWQT 1160, and is a musician and songwriter. He has been the music director of Fork Creek Baptist Church for several decades. The program is free and open to the public.


Cider, Wine & Dine Weekend features 50 events


More than a dozen venues will offer tastings, tours, new releases, picnics, pairing dinners, live music and vineyard hikes during the three-day Cider, Wine & Dine Weekend April 21-23.
Approximately 50 events take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday including dining, dancing and discovering new delights.
“It’s fun to see all of these local, craft producers come together for a weekend of events,” said Michelle Owens, executive director of Visit Hendersonville, the event sponsor. “Each one does an excellent job on its own, but when they pair their beverages with local foods, local bands playing music and other outdoor activities, it elevates the experience for visitors.”
The weekend is designed to encourage patrons to get out to the vineyards, orchards and tasting rooms and see where these wines and ciders begin their journey from field to bottle. Participating wineries are part of the Crest of the Blue Ridge AVA, North Carolina’s newest wine region. The cideries draw on decades of apple-growing heritage and a bounty of fresh fruit from area orchards.
Souther Williams Vineyard, which celebrates its one-year anniversary this spring, hosts hike-and-sip tours throughout the day on Friday, April 21. At N.C. Bicentennial Farm, which has been in owner Ken Parker’s family since 1800, guests will hear how he transitioned the property from traditional agricultural crops into a vineyard, all while sampling five different wines.
Marked Tree Vineyard will serve a savory vintner’s dinner with sunset views Friday evening featuring four courses, each paired with a Marked Tree wine produced from meticulously tended European vinifera and French-American hybrid grapevines in surrounding vineyards.
On Saturday, visitors can be among the first to see Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards’ new on-site winery and taste wines straight from the barrel. Across the road, folks can enjoy live music while sipping dry, European-style ciders and overlooking a hillside orchard at Appalachian Ridge Artisan Hard Cider.
Sunday’s finale at Point Lookout Vineyards features a Celtic band and the opportunity to taste a variety of meads and wines at the mountaintop tasting room.
Events are both free and ticketed. For a full schedule and weekend lodging options, visit or call 828-693-9708.

Walk Hendo seeks input on city’s pedestrian plan

The city’s Walk Hendo Steering Committee will host a drop-in public meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 2, at the City Operations Center, 305 Williams St., during which anyone who lives in, works in or visits Hendersonville is invited to share their thoughts about a proposed set of pedestrian projects. An online survey will also go live that day.

The Walk Hendo Steering Committee developed the set of pedestrian infrastructure projects out of last summer’s community input sessions in collaboration with the transportation consulting firm Traffic Planning & Design.
Walk Hendo is Hendersonville’s pedestrian planning process to draft recommendations for creating safe places to walk. The project began in the spring of 2022 and is expected to be completed in the late summer or early fall of this year. The public input will be used to further develop the Walk Hendo Pedestrian Plan. Once the plan is adopted, the city and North Carolina Department of Transportation can use it to make policy choices, design programs and events and apply for grants.

Steven Young joins Carolina Village board

Steven Young has been elected to the board of Carolina Village, the retirement community announced.
Chief information officer at Blue Ridge Community College, Young holds a master’s degree in Information Systems Management from Carnegie Mellon University and a bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo. He also serves on the Safe and Secure Online Program Committee, working to increase public knowledge about cyber threats and to raise awareness about technology careers.

“We are excited to have Steve’s expertise as we move forward with strategic planning for Carolina Village,” said Trina Stokes, Carolina Village board president. “Future growth depends on keeping people at the front and center of all plans, as well as incorporating technological advances. There is nobody better suited to helping us execute this strategic forward movement than Steve.”


Pardee opens applications for junior volunteers

UNC Health Pardee is accepting applications for the 2023 Junior Volunteer Summer Program through April 21.
The 2023 summer session begins with orientation on Wednesday, June 14, or Friday, June 23, and continues through Aug. 4. Young adults who are at least 14 years old by April 1 are eligible to apply and can complete the applications and forms found online.
As junior volunteers, students will learn the value of community service and will get exposure to the health care field. They also have the opportunity to volunteer in specialized areas such as information technology or biomedical engineering. Responsibilities include but are not limited to escorting patients and visitors to their destinations, transporting patients and visitors in wheelchairs, volunteering in the Orchards Café and assisting various other departments. Junior volunteers are expected to work at least four hours a week between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. They will not volunteer on weekends.
To be considered for a junior volunteer position at Pardee, applicants must be at least 14 years old by April 1, complete and return all application documents to Karla Reese by April 21, and attend the mandatory orientation meeting from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, or Friday, June 23. Volunteers must attend one of the orientations in its entirety, no exceptions.
Applicants must mail the completed application packet to Karla Reese c/o Pardee UNC Health Care, Volunteer Services – Box 2, 800 N. Justice St., Hendersonville, NC, 28791.
While Pardee does not require vaccination of its employees or volunteers, it does request documentation if you are vaccinated or have an exemption. Additionally, masks are required at all Pardee facilities for staff, contractors and volunteers working within six feet of a patient in clinical treatment or procedure rooms. This applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are optional elsewhere. There is a limited number of volunteer opportunities. For additional information, contact Reese at 828-696-4240.

United Way offers free online tax filing

The United Way of Henderson County is providing online tax filing software, accessible through, to help taxpayers easily and accurately file their taxes from their computer or smartphone. MyFreeTaxes is a free and easy way to file federal and state tax returns. The online tool:
• Screens for credit and deduction eligibility such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit to ensure filers receive their maximum tax refund, and lets filers check for any missed stimulus payments
• Shows filers how and why their refund amount is changing in real time
• Allows individuals to use their mobile phone, tablet or computer to file taxes
• Includes from a real person trained by the IRS via the MyFreeTaxes Helpline.
• Includes access to additional financial products and resources, including free access to a student debt management tool that will help employees easily lower payments or find loan forgiveness.

MyFreeTaxes is free for all returns and includes schedule C options. A list of the tax forms included in this free offering is available by visiting